One of the very first restaurants Mark and I went to when we started dating was Posto in Logan Circle. We had an incredible experience there, loved every bite of our meal - the salads were bright and fresh and creative, the pastas were luscious and melt-in-your-mouth, and the dessert was the perfect, rich ending. Being as I didn't feel like cooking tonight, was craving pasta, and didn't want to stray too far from home, we decided to see if Posto lived up to our recollection (or if the fond memories were a product of starry-eyed infatuation and rosy first blush of a new relationship). I say yes, Mark says no, but we agree that it was still a very nice meal.
Click below to see what we ate!
Last time, we got the Invernale (endive salad, orange, gorgonzola, organic radish, seasoned walnuts, trevisan radicchio, orange dressing) and Polipetti (grilled baby octopus, saffron potatoes, chickpeas, frisee salad, phyllo pastry shell), and loved those, but wanted to change it up this time around. I settled on the Tartara (beef tartar, red beets, quail egg, shaved parmesan cheese, black truffle, raw egg, lemon dressing) ($12) and Mark got the Insalata del Posto (arugula salad, crunchy fennel, toasted almonds, shaved pecorino romano, red wine vinegar) ($8).
Insalata del Posto
I liked both salads a lot. The Insalata del Posto was very simple and clean, with a nice balance of ingredients - the spiciness of the arugula stood up nicely to the sharp saltiness of the shaved Pecorino Romano. I would have liked to see a little bit more fennel, and would have liked the toasted almonds to be distributed throughout (they were hidden in a pile underneath the rest of the salad), as the overall dish could have benefited from the crunchiness of both ingredients.
I really enjoyed the Tartara as well. For starters, it was a very prettily composed plate, with the pinkness of the raw beef and the golden egg yolk contrasting nicely with the bright green of the salad bed. While I would have preferred the meat to be a little more finely ground, its quality was still apparent, and the raw quail egg added a richness to the dish that helped tie the beef and the beets together. I gotta say, though, I didn't really taste any of the truffle, which is a shame. Mark also liked both salads, although he noted that the salad accompanying the Tartara was a little too similar to the Insalata del Posto for his liking.
For our entrees, Mark ordered our old standby, the gnocchi (butternut squash dumplings, brown butter, sage, gorgonzola cream sauce) ($15), and I got the Guance (braised veal cheeks, sautéed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes) ($21).
Here's where we had a bit of a difference of opinion. I thought the veal cheeks were really fantastic, unbelievably tender, with a rich ragù-like sauce that made it easy to taste the slow braise The accompanying spinach and potatoes (which didn't taste particularly garlicky, but that's coming from a garlic fanatic), were acceptable enough and I think they let the meat steal the show. Mark thought the veal was very good, but thought the spinach and potatoes just seemed like afterthoughts - unseasoned and pretty blah.
As far as the gnocchi, I thought they were very good. The little dumplings were soft, with a nuanced butternut squash flavor that matched very well with the simple brown butter, sage and gorgonzola cream sauce. I note that the sauce on the gnocchi more than made up for the lack of garlic in the mashed potatoes in the other dish - there were visible thin slices of garlic scattered throughout, which made me really happy. Mark thought it was good, but not as good as it had been the first time we went. I will say, that although I really enjoyed the dish, it did taste like maybe it had been sitting around for a just a few minutes longer than intended.
I don't want to spend too much time on this, but we also ordered a side of polenta ($5). I did think it was a little underseasoned, but was generally okay with the dish's texture and consistency. Mark pretty much hated it. He thought it was watery and bland. Moving on.
We finished up with carrot cake (creme fraiche and mascarpone filling, bourbon caramel gelato) ($8) for Mark and a glass of Moscato for me. I had a little bite of the carrot cake and gelato, which I enjoyed as it was not overly sweet and was very subtly spiced. Mark said the same.
As a final note, I have to say that I fell in love with our server a little. He was an older gentleman, with a beautiful Italian accent (which Mark said he had some trouble understanding, silly white boy), who was very warm, friendly and attentive, without being intrusive. I also sensed he might have an appreciation of the wackier things in life. Don't ask me why, that's just how I felt.
I really like Posto. It's a great neighborhood joint, and I'm glad that it's in my neighborhood!